Sunday, August 23, 2009

Reflection: Hyporeactivity

Some people who read this may have memories of me, years ago, sleeping sprawled out on the couch of a 16-bedroom co-op -- a place where both the front and back doors were sometimes left open and people literally wandered in off the street. (You might want to keep that image of hyporeactivity in mind as you read this.)

Fear and excitement are both forms of arousal; from a neurochemical standpoint, they can be quite similar. People differ greatly in their response to novelty -- it's not just a matter of whether they perceive novel stimuli as positive or negative, but of the extent to which they experience an increase in arousal at all.

As for me, I'm like a stereo with a few pre-set buttons: When it comes to those stations that I've pre-set, arousal can shoot sky high; when it comes to most of the rest of the world, including most novel stimuli, arousal levels (both interest and fear) run so low they've literally left people staring at times.